Finsbury Rifles: Away from the Western Front, 23rd November 1916 – 12th December 1916

Lt-Colonel Stanley Cesnola Byrne (1872 – 1936)

 

Q57798 Lt Col SC Byrne at Bir El Mazar

Lt-Col S.C. Byrne at Bir-el-Mazar, February 1917

©IWM Q57798 Byrne, Stanley Cesnola (Colonel) collection
In May 1914, Major Stanley Cesnola Byrne was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and became the Commanding Officer of the 11th Battalion, London Regiment (the Finsbury Rifles). He had joined its predecessor, the 21st Middlesex Regiment as a 19-year-old 2nd Lieutenant and had seen action in South Africa in 1900. He remained Commanding Officer of the renamed 1/11 as it trained in England and embarked for Gallipoli in July, 1915. Enemy action and dreadful conditions in the trenches took their toll. On the 19th September Captain Windsor assumed command of the battalion when Lt-Col Byrne was sent to hospital. Although the battalion diary recorded that he was suffering from diarrhoea, it might well have been dysentery which was far more serious.
He re-joined the Finsbury Rifles in November 1916. As he had done in Gallipoli, Lt-Col Byrne produced an extended series of photos which record the day to day experiences of the battalion; guarding the Suez Canal, working with camels, manning the defence systems, celebrating Christmas and crossing the Sinai desert.
However, his health issues had obviously not been completely resolved. On the 11th March 1917, as a terrible sandstorm engulfed the area around El Burj, Major AH Windsor took over command of the battalion once more as Lt-Col Byrne left for England via Alexandria.
He did not return to the Middle East. Once recovered, he continued serving with the Territorial Force. After the war, he commanded the 5th City of London Battalion and after that, a Cadet Force until he retired from the Territorial Force in December 1932, aged 60.

 

Date 23/11/16

Routines as usual, also specialist classes. Work on defences. Lt Colonel SC Byrne TD rejoined and took over command of Battn. Lt Colonel H Windsor CMG relinquished command.

Date 24 to 25/11/16

Routines as usual, also specialist classes, work on defences.

Date 26/11/16

Routine as usual. Divine service.

Date 27/11/16

Routines as usual, also specialist classes, work on defences. Lt H G Landrock rejoined.

Date 28 to 29/11/16

Routines as usual, also specialist classes, work on defences. Lieut GS Kilby left for RJ6.

Date 30/11/16

Routines as usual. The remainder of the Battalion proceeded from KUBRI EAST by route march to GENEFFE bivouac there for the night.

Location GENEFFE Date 1/12/16

Proceeded by route march to Ashton Post.

Location SALFORD Date 1/12/16

3 Officers 187 OR 2 Camp D coys taken our strength

Location ASHTON Date 2/12/16

Routines as usual, also specialist classes, work on defences.

Location SALFORD Date 2/12/16

2nd Lieut Fox left to report to War Office.

Locations ASHTON and SALFORD Date 3/12/16

Routines as usual. Divine service.

Locations ASHTON and SALFORD Date 4/12/16

Routines as usual, also specialist classes, work on defences. Field training GHQ 162 Brigade

Locations ASHTON and SALFORD Date 5 to 9/12/16

Routines as usual, also specialist classes, work on defences. Field firing.

Locations ASHTON and SALFORD Date 10/12/16

Routines as usual. Divine service. Lt C Anderson reported for duty from POW camp El Shatt.

Locations ASHTON and SALFORD Date 11/12/16

Routines as usual, also specialist classes, work on defences

512 OR 1/10 London Regt camped at ASHTON.

Locations ASHTON and SALFORD Date 12/12/16

Routine as usual. Specialist classes; work on defences. 1/10 London Regt marched out on mobile column at 0800.

 

 

 

 

 

Finsbury Rifles: Away from the Western Front, 25th October – 22nd November 1916

General Sir Archibald Murray inspects D Company at Kubri East

Archibald_Murray wikimedia commons

General Sir Archibald Murray (1860 – 1945) was an experienced and decorated staff officer who had fought in South Africa and had served in France in the opening months of the First World War. In January 1916 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of what became the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) which was largely involved in defending the Suez Canal and keeping it open to all shipping. As Allied policy changed, Murray had to plan the advance across the Sinai Desert and into Southern Palestine. This involved the building of a railway, roads and the all- important water pipeline to supply the troops and animals of the EEF. General Murray’s HQ was in Cairo but he spent 5 days inspecting the Southern Canal Defence zone in late October 1916. The entries for this period in the war diary of the 1/5 Bedfordshire Regiment mention some of the preparations for this visit.

 

 

Location KUBRI EAST Date 25/10/16

Routine as usual. No convoys.

Location ON COLUMN Date 25/10/16

Column left for Camp Y at 0630 returning to Camp Z without incident.

Location KUBRI EAST Date 25 to 29/10/16

Routines as usual. Visit of General Sir Archibald Murray to D coy.

Date 30/10/16

Routines as usual. Battalion on training (and night operation) 2nd Lieut GG Critchley left RJC

Date 31/10/16

Routine as usual. Battalion in training.

November and December 1916

Location KUBRI EAST Date 12/11/16

Routines as usual, Divine service.

Date 13/11/16

Routine as usual also specialist classes. Work on defences. Detachment from Gurkha Port returned to Kubri East.

Date 14/11/16

Routine as usual also specialist classes. Capt Tattersall, and 100 other ranks proceeded to Ashton to relieve detachment 5th. Lieut Owen and 100 other ranks proceeded to Salford to relieve detachment.

Date 15/11/16

Routines as usual also specialist classes. Work on defences. Detachments of 100 OR with officers to Ashton and Salford respectively.

Date 16/11/16

Routines as usual, also specialist classes.

Date 17/11/16

Lieut TW Griffiths End NB Hutchinson 2nd Lt CC Badgley left for RF6.

Date 18 to 19/11/16

Routines as usual. Divine service.

Date 20 to 22/11/16

Routines as usual also specialist classes. Work on defences